Search our Archives:
» Opinion & Society
Transcendency of God in the Universe
By Avi Lazerson
We often hear people say things like, "G-d is everywhere" or "G-d knows everything," or "G-d is in the heavens." Some people just murmur, "where is G-d?" Some people say that the Torah is Holy, some tell us that the Temple mount is Holy, and others say that the commandments are Holy. What differentiates between the Holy and the mundane (the non-sacred)?
To understand all of this, we must realize that all the above questions are valid. G-d is manifest in the world at the same time. Holiness has an existence. We, as mortals have a bit of difficulty with the perception of the infinite. G-d, G-dliness and holiness belong to that realm. After all, we are finite creatures and as finite creatures, we have minds that work on finite dimensions. This means that the concept of the infinite is very difficult to grasp.
We can understand that there is a concept of the dimensionless. We can fathom that there could be something that has no end, that has no limits. Since we can picture a long line stretching from one side of the universe to the other, we can say to ourselves that infinity is even longer; that an infinite line can have no end. But we can not picture it in our imagination.
To understand the concept of G-d's transcendency of the universe and the essence of what is holiness, we must make use of our imagination.
We say that G-d existed prior to the existence of the world and the universe, and that He will continue to exist after the universe and all worlds, physical and spiritual, cease to exist. To say that there is no change in G-d is easy to say, but difficult to understand. If G-d fills the world completely, then all is imbued with Him! So how can something have more holiness than something else? If G-d fill everything equally, why does the Torah have more Holiness than a printed Bible, or the land of Israel have more Holiness than other lands?
The reason for our general confusion and lack of understanding in this area stems from our concept of G-d as having a singular presence. We exist in one plane at a time. Either we are here or we are there. We don't think of two things at a time, nor do we exist as two separate identities.
Not so with G-d. He exists in two separate forms. One is called by the mystics, "sovev," the transcendent form, meaning that he transcends the world and is not captured in the world nor by the world. The other form is called by the mystics, "mimaly," the imminent aspect of being actively manifest in the world.
There is a big difference between these two aspects. The first, "sovev," is the form that G-d exists in through out the universe. To Himself he permeates everything in a non revealing manner, like sunlight fills a room, yet can only be seen by its reflection from objects that it strikes, so too, "sovev," means that G-d transcends everything. However, unlike sunlight, which is stopped by objects, such as chairs and walls, G-d's essential being penetrates everything with complete equality to the point that we exist within Him, not He with in us. Like radio waves that exist everywhere, but are only revealed through a radio, G-d exists everywhere, but requires our being "tuned in" to receive him.
The second form of G-dliness, "mimaly," is the active element of G-dliness within everything in the universe. Just like the soul fills the body of man, yet, each limb and organ has a special power unlike its neighbor, i.e., the ear hears, but can not see, the eye sees, but can not hear. So too, the active aspect of G-d fills the world and everything in the world, but only in regard to what that particular thing can hold.
Like a body, certain parts have a greater ability to perceive and to reveal. The soul fills the body with complete equality; there is no place in the body that is void of the soul. Yet the hands perceive texture and weight, but not color. The eyes see color and position, but not sound. The ears perceive sound but not color. Each organ receives its life force from the soul, but each organ, according to its structure utilizes the power of the soul in a different manner to perceive and reveal.
In the world too, the entire world is filled with G-d's glory. Yet various things have more of an ability to reveal the G-dliness within. A book reveals the wisdom of the author. An automobile reveals the ingenuity of the engineer. Computer software reveals the brilliance of its programmer.
We can see the beauty of G-d through studying the wonders of nature. When we learn the Torah, we begin to see the unfathomable depth of His wisdom. The land of Israel provides us an arena to see the hand of G-d in the daily life of its inhabitants.
So, even though the entire world is filled with his glory, and nothing is void of his presence, yet we may utilize certain aspects to gain a closer perspective of G-d. Through our contemplation on events that have happened to us, we may reveal G-d's presence in our lives. Other forms of contemplation bring us towards a true appreciation of G-d transcendence throughout the various worlds.
Contemplation and Meditaion of God and his manifestations, in this world and others, will be a subject of other articles in other issues of the Jewish Magazine.
from the August 2000 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
Please let us know if you see something unsavory on the Google Ads and we will have them removed. Email us with the offensive URL (www.something.com)